Can you imagine if some government entity decided to take your property? It happens and it’s legal. While there are legitimate reasons for eminent-domain takings, this tool available to cities, states, and other bodies sometimes gets abused.
Thanks to efforts by Texas Realtors®, many of those abuses are no longer a cause for worry.
Legislation passed during the 82nd Texas Legislature gives additional protections to property owners regarding eminent domain. Property can no longer be condemned to benefit any private party.
Furthermore, if the property taken through eminent domain isn’t used for the intended purpose after 10 years, the original owner has the option to buy it back for the same price he was paid when the property was condemned.
Texas Realtors® were successful during the legislative session on several other issues of importance to property owners.
Curbing unfair fees
I bet when you sell or buy a home, you don’t want to pay a percentage of the sales price to someone who developed the property decades ago. That kind of private transfer fee was being attached to properties for up to 99 years. Every time the home sold, the new buyer would pay as much as 1% back to that original developer. That’s $2,000 on a $200,000 home.
Texas Realtors® supported a bill that now prohibits most future private transfer fees. The legislation also requires clear disclosure on any property already burdened with one of these fees.
Balancing power between homeowners associations and homeowners
Homeowners associations (HOAs) serve a beneficial purpose. Yet, some HOAs have been wielding too much power to the detriment of property owners in their associations. Three bills supported by Texas Realtors® and passed this session give more control to homeowners. The new laws:
• Assign homeowners’ past-due payments to dues before assessing fines and attorney’s fees
• Enhance residents’ voting rights
• Mandate open records and meetings for HOAs
• Make it more difficult for an HOA to foreclose
• Restrict HOAs’ ability to ban religious displays, flags, and solar panels
Requiring more accountability
Texas Realtors® also backed bills that require licenses for more people in a position of responsibility regarding real estate transactions. That includes:
• Individuals or entities that control the acceptance of deposits or rent
• Attorneys licensed in other states but practicing real estate in Texas
• Business entities through which licensed individuals operate their brokerages
In addition, real estate salespeople must now be licensed for four years rather than two before becoming eligible to obtain a real estate broker’s license.
Another piece of legislation gives the state more resources to protect real estate consumers. With backing from the Texas Realtors®, the Texas Real Estate Commission can now use the funds generated from real estate license fees to fund its operations. That puts TREC in a position to better oversee the real estate industry and investigate consumer complaints.
I and my fellow Texas Realtors® are proud to stand up for property owners’ rights at the Capitol. We will continue to work for policies and legislation that make buying, selling, owning, and renting property in our state fair and affordable.
For more consumer-friendly information about buying, selling or leasing property in Texas, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.
For your real estate needs, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.